By Bill McAllister
For a lot of our listeners, Dick Clark was that “old guy” with the slurred speech who hosted ABC-TV’s “New Years Rockin’ Eve” with Ryan Seacrest. He was so much more than that to me and generations of people older and younger than me. Clark died today after suffering a massive heart attack following an outpatient procedure at St. John’s hospital in Los Angeles. “America’s Oldest Teenager” was 82-years old.
When I heard the news that Dick Clark died, a lot of thoughts went through my mind. Before there was MTV, (back when they actually showed videos, not the celebration of human trash they currently spew over the airwaves) there was American Bandstand. When I was real young, it meant Saturday morning cartoons were over. As I reached about seven or eight years and was starting to get into music, it meant I would get to see artists like the Jackson 5. AB was one of your few chances to see musicians perform. Oh yeah, and see hot girls dance.
People don’t realize how much Dick Clark was involved in their television watching habits. Besides the aforementioned New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and American Bandstand, which started as a local Philadelphia dance show that went national in 1957, he produced and/or hosted such shows as; “$25,000 Pyramid”, “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes” and “The Golden Globes”. He also created and produced “The American Music Awards” back in the 1970’s, which, in my opinion, blow away the Grammy’s (how does Jethro Tull beat out Metallica for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance?).
There’s the old saying, “you don’t really miss something until it’s gone”. For me, that definitely applies to Dick Clark. He has always been a part of our lives whether we realized it or not. Not only is he truly a broadcasting legend, he is part of Americana and he will be dearly missed.